Background We aimed to confirm that children who have survived bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) display lower ventilation during exercise than healthy children, and to determine whether alveolar hypoventilation associated with exercise-induced hypoxemia occurred in these children.
Methods Twenty children with BPD (birth weight 1441+523 g [mean + SD], gestational age 31+2.3 weeks), aged 7 to 14 years, and 18 matched healthy children, born at term, performed resting pulmonary function and cardiopulmonary incremental exercise tests. Arterialized capillary blood gases were measured at rest and at maximal exercise in the BPD group.
Results The BPD group showed moderate expiratory airflow limitation and hyperinflation. Maximal oxygen uptake and ventilatory threshold were similar in the two groups. The BPD group displayed ventilatory limitation on exercise, with greater use of the ventilatory reserve (p<0.01), and lower maximal ventilation (p<0.01), and tidal volume (p=0.01). Changes in ventilation (p<0.0001) and tidal volume (p=0.003) during exercise were significantly smaller in the BPD group than in controls, at similar submaximal workloads. At peak exercise, we observed hypoxemia in 12 BPD children (60%). In the subgroup with hypoxemia, a significant increase in PaCO2 (p=0.01) was measured at peak exercise, showing alveolar hypoventilation sustained by the lower tidal volume.
Conclusions Despite normal maximal aerobic performance, BPD children showed ventilatory limitation on exercise, frequently with hypoxemia and alveolar hypoventilation. Despite an improvement in their pulmonary condition, continued follow-up by cardiopulmonary exercise testing, is strongly recommended.
© 2008 Elsevier Masson SAS. Tous droits réservés.